WRONG-WAY RAGSDALE by Charles Hammer


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Readers who enjoyed the impulsive flight, headlong adventure, and satisfying ending of Me, the Beef and the Bum (1984) will find more of the same here. This time the ""flight"" is literal: Emmett Ragsdale's hardworking father, who has always dreamed of being a pilot, is offered a decrepit old Taylorcraft if he can fix it up. But when the owner, Mr. Enright, hears the motor running, he begins to change his tune; Emmett, in disgust, jumps into the plane, with his eight-year-old sister Essie in tow, and chugs off into the wild blue yonder. Figuring that he's now in deep trouble, Emmett, who knows little about flying and less about landing, finds a remote area and plummets into it. He and Essie miraculously survive the crash to spend a miserable couple of days until their father spots them and parachutes to the rescue--just as a major storm and flood move in. A dramatic boat-ride down a swollen river leads to an equally dramatic confrontation. Hammer contrasts Enright (and other rich folks), corrupted by greed, with the poor, closely knit, gruffly affectionate Ragsdale family; the latter hold the moral high ground from beginning to end. Characters reflect this simple positioning, their strengths and weaknesses clearly laid out, All in all, Hammer has a fine sense of story, and salts this one liberally with laughter, danger, and just deserts.

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 1987
Page count: 92pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux